Tag: Andrew Garcia

Wills & Trusts - the Basics , , ,

Estate Planning and Tax Season Go Hand-in-Hand

Add Estate Planning To Your List of Resolutions This Year

Wills and Trust Planner Dartmouth MassachusettsThe New Year means tax season is beginning. Here in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, like every other part of the country, we begin collecting our tax forms and looking for all possible deductions. Estate planning goes hand-in-hand with tax season as you’ll see in a moment.

The New Year also is a time for making resolutions.  I usually resolve each year to try and live a healthier lifestyle. I promise myself I’ll get around to losing that extra 10 pounds. My wife and I agree to save a little extra each week for retirement.

While many people focus on getting organized for the New Year, estate planning is an equally important personal finance goal that should make every adult’s “to-do list.”

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“Estate Planning” Isn’t Just for the Rich and Famous. It’s for Everyone.

Massachusetts Estate Planning

Massachusetts Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Rich and Famous

My wife, Nancy, and I were at a favorite ‘watering hole’ here in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, recently and we started a conversation with some great people sitting next to us. Naturally, the topic of what we all did for a living came up. When I said that I was an “estate planning” lawyer and that I prepared wills and trusts for people, they said, “yeah, we really need to do our wills, but we keep putting it off.”  They then asked, though, “isn’t estate planning just for really rich  people?”

In response, I told them that they weren’t alone by putting off doing their wills. According to an April 2014 Forbes article, 62% of Americans between the ages of 45 to 54 hadn’t drafted their wills. So, a majority of us clearly haven’t done our plans.

Then I answered their question and said, “no, estate planning isn’t just for the rich and famous, it’s for just about everyone.”

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July Fourth is My Favorite Time of the Year!

July 4th has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I was a history major in college (S.M.U. to be exact – and, I’m talking about THE SMU that we know here in the SouthCoast – Southeastern Mass. University now known as UMass Dartmouth). As a history major, I was always drawn to the struggles of our Founding Fathers in forming this great nation of ours. To this day, I enjoy programs and books about that era and still enjoy learning.

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Second Marriages and Relationships , , , , , , , , ,

I’m in a Second Marriage. Is Estate Planning Really All That Important?

Simple answer: it’s probably MORE important now in your second marriage than it was in your first.

In most second marriages, each spouse comes into the new relationship with “baggage” from the first marriage (and I don’t mean “baggage” in the negative sense). They have kids from the first marriage. They have a house from the first marriage. They have a 401k from the first marriage. Maybe they have a business that survived the first marriage.

Other than the “kids,” these pieces of “baggage” are all “assets” in the eyes of the law from the first marriage.

Now, usually there’s a pretty interesting dynamic that I see surrounding how each spouse feels about these different pieces of “baggage” from the first marriage. Generally, they tend to think of the property, or “baggage,” from the first marriage as their own individual property.

It’s not necessarily a negative or selfish feeling that they have about these assets – it is understandable – but they tend to have the view that they worked hard for them, they survived the break up of a first marriage and came out with them in tact, so they view them as “mine.”

Added to this dynamic each spouse then usually has very strong feelings about how these pieces of “baggage” should be handled when they pass away.

Here’s a great “real life” example that many second-marriage couples face. This couple’s been married for over 10 years. They both have adult kids from a first marriage. The couple is living together in the home that the wife brought from the first marriage.

Now, they live in this house, which has no mortgage, as if it is “their” home. They act as if it is “their” home. They both contribute to its upkeep. They pay taxes on it. But, if something happens to her, then the wife wants her husband to live in the house for as long as he wants (and for as long as he remains single after she’s gone), and then the house should go to her kids from the first marriage only. She doesn’t want the house to go to her stepchildren.

So here’s the rub: if that wife dies without some sort of estate plan in place, then state laws will determine how that house is passed on. So, the surviving husband will now have part ownership in that house with her kids from the first marriage. If that surviving husband then dies without a will, his kids will inherit his share of the property – a result that the wife didn’t want.

For this couple, like most couples in a second marriage, a living trust combined with wills could solve their dilemma and help get them the result that they want.

So as you can see, if you’re in a second marriage (or a third or even a fourth), it’s imperative that you do some estate planning. If you have questions, contact an estate planning attorney to talk about your second marriage questions.

Andrew J. Garcia - "Don't leave a financial mess for your loved ones. Get some Family Legal Planning done before it's too late."

The Family Legal Planning system at Phillips & Garcia has been designed to help busy families get their Massachusetts estate planning done in a convenient and affordable way. To learn more about trusts and how they can be used in your estate plan, schedule your complimentary Family Legal Planning session with Attorney Andrew Garcia. To speak with Attorney Garcia call him at (508) 998-0800 or email him at [email protected]

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Local Dartmouth Lawyer Andrew Garcia Takes on Bank of America in California Federal Court

Local Dartmouth Ma. lawyer Andrew Garcia of Phillips & Garcia Law is currently flying over the continental United States on his way to California Federal court to take on the largest American bank, Bank of America. Andrew’s trip is for a widely publicized illegal lock-out and trash-out case.

You can follow Andrew for updates on twitter.

Check out earlier discussions about illegal lockout and trash-out cases with Phillips & Garcia featured on the Today Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

For more information on illegal lockout, trash-out cases and how to protect your family check out our website here.  If you have a smartphone scan below.

Wills & Trusts - the Basics , , , , , , , ,

Five Estate Plan Dos & Don’ts

Have an estate plan? Well if you don’t, your among good company. About 50%-60% of Americans don’t even have a will.

So here are 5 quick Dos and Don’ts when it comes to estate plans.

  • Don’t name your minor kids as beneficiaries of your insurance policy.  If something happens to you before they turn 18, then a court will have to appoint someone to manage their money for them. And, even worse, when they turn 18, they’ll have instant access to everything that’s left.
  • Do have backup Health Care Agents named. You may feel you only trust one person deciding whether to “pull the plug” or make clutch decisions in an emergency, but if that person’s not available because their taking a dream vacation in Barbados, you need to have someone around to make those tough choices.
  • Don’t put one of your adult kid’s names on your bankbook because it’s convenient. A lot of elders will add an adult child’s name to their bank accounts for convenience and think that they’ll  “do the right” thing when they’re gone and split the money amongst the other siblings.  But, putting their name on an account can make them an outright owner of the money and they may choose to not split the money with their brothers and sisters after you’re gone.
  • Do name guardians of your minor children. This one’s a “no brainer.” It’s simple, if you don’t name guardians yourself, then a Probate Judge who knows nothing about your family and your values will make the decision for you after you’re gone.  And, you may not like that decision.
  • Don’t put off creating a plan. Let’s face it, between jobs, kids, family, soccer practices, homework, dance recitals, life is busy. It’s easy to let the days slip on by without one. But, every time you step out of the front door, something could happen to you.  I know it’s not what you want to think about, but strokes, heart attacks, auto accidents, even criminal violence, can happen. If you haven’t planned something, then your loved ones will be left cleaning up the financial mess you leave behind.

Make this year the year that you leave the other half of Americans behind and get an estate plan done.

Andrew Garcia, Family Legal Planning Attorney

Don't leave your loved ones with a financial mess. Get some Family Legal Planning in place before it's too late.

The Family Legal Planning system at Phillips & Garcia has been designed to help busy families get their estate planning done in a convenient and affordable way. To schedule your complimentary Family Legal Planning session with Attorney Andrew Garcia just call (508) 998-0800 or email him at [email protected]